You are an MBBS. Don't you think you can serve your country better by remaining a doctor and treating poor patients? Why do you want to be a civil servant?" a doctor from Kerala was once asked by the UPSC selection board. "Because I want to treat the primary malady that afflicts our country, that creates so many poor in India. As a doctor I can treat only secondary maladies," came the prompt rejoinder from the sharp-witted 30-something doctor. She even came up with exact statistics and suggestions on a rubber plantation for poverty alleviation indicating that she had spent considerable time and thoughts on her future plans. She was awarded a score of 85 per cent, the highest a candidate can get at the interview session.
"What are the problems faced by wheat cultivators in your state?" an M.Sc. (Agriculture) student from Palanpur was once asked. "The problem is not so much to do with agronomy but with the lack of a seed bank in Palanpur," came the reply and the candidate walked away with an 80 per cent score.
"Is there a law in physics, which is relevant to administration?" a law graduate was prompted. "Yes. Newton's third law of motion: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." He scored a cool 80 per cent.
The three instances quoted above are not indicative of the general pool of talent who gets past the Civil Services Examinations. In fact, they could be just one-off cases, but the reason they have been cited is that it's this calibre of students that the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is looking for amongst the lakhs of students who take the exam every year.